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DWI Defense Attorney in Hackensack, NJ

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The punishment for DWI charges has gotten stricter over the years. If you're facing DWI charges in Hackensack, NJ, you need a DWI lawyer that's familiar with the new laws. The law office of William J. Quirk, Esq., LLC stays up to date with every major and minor change in DWI legislation. William will create a plan for your defense to help you get the best possible outcome. To learn more about your DWI charge, contact William Quirk today.

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Common Penalties for A DWI Conviction

If you're facing a DWI charge, you may be wondering what the possible penalties are. Under the new laws, common penalties include:

  • Fines

  • Jail time

  • License suspension

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

Do you want to learn more about the DWI legal process? Reach out to William Quirk's office right away to discuss your case with a DWI lawyer.

More About New Jersey DWI Law

New Jersey has drastically changed its DWI laws over the past three months. On December 1, 2019, the NJ DWI laws were changed to move the state towards the national trend regarding DWI punishments.

Ignition interlock devices are machines that are installed in cars. In order to start a car, a driver has to blow an amount of air into the machine. The machine then determines if the person is under the influence of alcohol. If they have more than a certain amount of alcohol in their system, the car will not start. Once the car is operational, the machine will ask periodically for additional breath samples to ensure the person driving is not intoxicated.

These machines were required on DWI sentences in NJ in limited cases prior to 2019. Prior to December 1, 2019, New Jersey punished DWI offenders by taking the person's license for a period of time. There were no laws allowing those people to drive during that period to work or to school. Driving during that period of suspension could lead to jail sentences for individuals.

Research proved that this system was not actually a good deterrence for drunk driving. People continued to drive to work or for other reasons. People continued to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol. The system was not working, so Governor Murphy instituted changes to the laws to better protect people in New Jersey.

The new laws require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all DWI convictions. However, in most first offense cases, the period of license suspension is much shorter than in the past. In some instances, the suspension period can be one day! Interlock devices will ensure people who are driving can get to work while protecting citizens by preventing someone from driving while drunk. It helps strike a balance between letting people who have made a one-time mistake continue to live and work while still protecting the public.

These new laws require lawyers who understand what can be done for defendants. The changes are massive and important. You need to reach out to an attorney who knows what is going on. William Quirk can help you with your DWI matter and understands the new law and how it affects you.

On December 1, 2019, the NJ DWI Laws Were Changed to Move the State Towards the National Trend Regarding DWI Punishments.

Ignition interlock devices are machines that are installed in cars. In order to start a car, a driver has to blow an amount of air into the machine. The machine then determines if the person is under the influence of alcohol. If they have more than a certain amount of alcohol in their system, the car will not start. Once the car is operational, the machine will ask periodically for additional breath samples to ensure the person driving is not intoxicated.

These machines were required on DWI sentences in NJ in limited cases prior to 2019. Prior to December 1, 2019, New Jersey punished DWI offenders by taking the person's license for a period of time. There were no laws allowing those people to drive during that period to work or to school. Driving during that period of suspension could lead to jail sentences for individuals.

Research proved that this system was not actually a good deterrence for drunk driving. People continued to drive to work or for other reasons. People continued to get behind the wheel of a car under the influence of alcohol. The system was not working, so Governor Murphy instituted changes to the laws to better protect people in New Jersey.

The new laws require the installation of ignition interlock devices for all DWI convictions. However, in most first offense cases, the period of license suspension is much shorter than in the past.

Individuals Who Have Never Been Convicted of A DWI in New Jersey or Any Other State Face the Following Penalties:

Blood Alcohol Content of .08% but Less than .10%, or Operation Under the Influence by Observation of Officers:

  • $250-$400 Fine

  • $356 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • 12 to 48 Hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Time

  • Jail up to 30 Days (Not mandatory)

  • Driver's License loss indeterminate until the installation of Ignition Interlock Device

  • Ignition Interlock period for three months

Blood Alcohol Content of .10% but Less than .15%

  • $300-$500 Fine

  • $356 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • 12 to 48 Hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Time

  • Jail up to 30 Days (Not mandatory)

  • Driver's License loss indeterminate until the installation of Ignition Interlock Device

  • Ignition Interlock period for seven to twelve months

Blood Alcohol Content of .15% or Higher

  • $300-$500 Fine

  • $356 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • 12 to 48 Hours of Intoxicated Driver Resource Center Time

  • Jail up to 30 Days (Not mandatory)

  • Driver's License loss four to six months

  • Ignition Interlock during a period of license forfeiture and for nine to fifteen months after license restoration

For first offense DWIs that involve a conviction based upon operation under the influence of a narcotic, hallucinogenic or habit-producing drug, a defendant is subject to a license forfeiture of not less than seven months, nor more than one year.

All Second Offense DWI Violations, Either Through Observation, Blood Alcohol Concentration or Drugs, Carry Penalties Of:

  • $500-$1,000 Fine

  • $356 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center in accord with treatment classifications (usually 48 Hours)

  • Jail Sentence of two to ninety days; the court may authorize a two-day sentence served at the IDRC

  • 1 to 2-year loss of driving privileges

  • Ignition Interlock during a period of license forfeiture and for 2 to 4 years after license restoration

All Third Offense DWI Violations, Either Through Observation, Blood Alcohol Concentration or Drugs, Carry Penalties Of:

  • $1,000 Fine

  • $356 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center in accord with treatment classifications

  • Jail Sentence of 180 days, mandatory. Ninety days of the sentence may be served in an IDRC approved in-patient program

  • 8-year loss of driving privileges

  • Ignition Interlock during a period of license forfeiture and for 2 to 4 years after license restoration

If a person does not own a motor vehicle where an Ignition Interlock Device may be installed must attest to not owning, leasing, or operating a motor vehicle. Once this takes place, the defendant will be subject to license forfeiture for the period of the interlock installation required for the violation.

If a defendant refuses to submit to a breath alcohol test, there is a separate violation of the motor vehicle code under NJSA 39:4-50.4. There are penalties based upon the number of prior refusals on a defendant's motor vehicle record.

First Offense Refusal Penalties

  • $300-$500 Fine

  • $106 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center time for 12 to 48 hours

  • Loss of Driving Privileges until an Ignition Interlock Device is installed

  • Ignition Interlock of 9 to 15 months

Second Offense Refusal Penalties

  • $500-$1,000 Fine

  • $106 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center time in accord with treatment classification (usually 48 hours)

  • Loss of Driving Privileges 1 to 2 years following installation of Ignition Interlock Device

  • Ignition Interlock during a period of license forfeiture and for 2 to 4 years following the restoration of driver's license

Third Offense Refusal Penalties

  • $1,000 Fine

  • $106 State Assessments

  • Up to $33 Court Costs

  • Intoxicated Driver Resource Center in accord with treatment classification

  • Loss of Driving Privileges 8 years following installation of Ignition Interlock Device

  • Ignition Interlock during a period of license forfeiture and for 2 to 4 years following the restoration of driver's license

If a person does not own a motor vehicle where an Ignition Interlock Device may be installed must attest to not owning, leasing or operating a motor vehicle. Once this takes place, the defendant will be subject to license forfeiture for the period of the interlock installation required for the refusal violation.

These penalties are substantially different from previous ones in New Jersey. You need to have an attorney who understands the new laws, how they will affect defendants, and what you need to do to in a serious situation like this. William Quirk can help you navigate these difficult issues, as he has the knowledge and experience needed in DWI and Refusal cases.